Five reasons to watch the 2018 Darts World Championships

72 players from 24 countries will battle it out to be crowned World Champion.
72 players from 24 countries will battle it out to be crowned World Champion. Photo credit: Getty

Seven men have had the honour of being crowned Professional Darts Corporation [PDC] World Champion in the 24-year history of the tournament, but its 25th edition is set to be the greatest of them all.

72 players from 24 countries will battle it out to be crowned World Champion and claim the NZ$782,530 prize that comes with the glory.

For some, it will be their first time competing on the biggest stage in darts, while for others it will be their last.

The latest instalment of one of the must-see sporting events of the year will be one of the most entertaining, most thrilling, and most exciting in 25 years.

Here are five reasons why you should watch.

THE KIWI CONTINGENT

As New Zealanders, we love supporting our athletes on the world's biggest stage, regardless of what the sport they are competing in. This year we have two flying our flag proudly in London.

Both Cody Harris and Bernie Smith will make their Alexandra Palace debuts in December after winning qualifying tournaments.

Harris was the first Kiwi to qualify - winning the Dart Players New Zealand's annual qualifying event.

Cody Harris will be in action in London.
Cody Harris will be in action in London. Photo credit: Getty

Smith won the Darts Players Australia [DPA] Oceanic Masters to book his ticket to London.

The two New Zealanders face a preliminary round qualifier if they are to make the main 64-man draw.

The 32-year-old Harris will is up against North American champion Willard Bruguier, Smith, 53, meets Chinese teen Xiao Chen Zong.

LAST TIME WATCHING THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME

After a long and illustrious career dominating on the world stage, Phil 'The Power' Taylor will be competing in his final professional tournament.

For people who don't follow darts.....

"He is, the record-breaking, history-making, 16-times, champion of the world..."

Let that sink in - 16 world titles.

Most of the world's best have barely won 16 tournaments let alone world titles.

The 57-year-old won his first in 1990, with his most recent being 2013.  Taylor has also won practically every major trophy in the sport at least once.

Phil Taylor is desperate to secure title number 17.
Phil Taylor is desperate to secure title number 17. Photo credit: Getty

However, if he is to end his career with a bang with title number 17, he faces a tough road to the final with potential match-ups against James Wade, two-time winner Gary Anderson and Peter Wright before even reaching the final.

If the Brit defies the odds to win his final event, it is safe to say that it would be a fitting end to a remarkable career.

IT WILL BE A TIGHTLY CONTESTED TOURNAMENT

Let's cut to the chase, Michael van Gerwen is the undoubtedly the favourite to defend his title. 

The Dutchman has been in sublime form in 2017 winning a number of major titles, including the Premier League, World Series of Darts and the Grand Slam.

Adrian Lewis will be one of the tournament favorites.
Adrian Lewis will be one of the tournament favorites. Photo credit: Getty

However, this year has been the most competitive in recent memory. 2017 has seen the likes of Peter Wright, Mensur Suljovic and Darryl Gurney win their maiden television titles while the likes of Rob Cross, John Henderson, and Kyle Anderson have all caused major upsets.

Upset is the keyword for the World Championships because there are bound to be plenty as the tournament progresses.

CAN'T HELP BUT APPRECIATE HOW GOOD THESE GUYS ARE

One of the reasons why darts is a brilliant sport to watch is because it's simple to follow and understand.

Darts is not like rugby for example where there are millions of rules which leave you scratching your head.

When you stand in front of a board and try to replicate what the professionals do, it is extremely difficult. Sure we can all throw the odd treble 20 or hit the bullseye every once and a while, but to do it consistently is very challenging.

Scotland's Gray Anderson is a two-time world champion.
Scotland's Gray Anderson is a two-time world champion. Photo credit: Getty

You have to appreciate the world's best and how they can consistently throw three darts in the treble 20, or score a 151 finish to win a leg.

In front of a raucous crowd, with the lights shining bright, with the cameras on you at all times, you have to hold your nerve and stay focussed ... that all adds to the viewing experience for the fan watching at home.

THE CROWD

The fans are what the tournament is all about ... outside of the great dart players of course.
The fans are what the tournament is all about ... outside of the great dart players of course. Photo credit: Getty

The crowd play a huge part in making darts a great spectacle.

From the dancing to the singing, to the continuous 'Michael van Gerwen' chants [Similar to the Waisake Naholo one], the atmosphere is nothing like you have heard before.

Over 66,000 people crammed into the Alexandra Palace last time creating a party-like atmosphere like no other.

Some go for a good time, while others go to watch the best in the world - all while they dress up as their favourite superheroes or movie characters.

Michael van Gerwen is the reigning world champion.
Michael van Gerwen is the reigning world champion. Photo credit: Getty

Nothing beats listening to the crowd sing "Eye of the Tiger" when Raymond van Barneveld walks onto the stage, or the fans chanting for Peter Wright as he boogies around the stage with his colourful mohawk and radical outfits which change with every match.

Some people attend just for that party atmosphere, and tie that in with the fans watching the sport and you get the best sports entertainment has to offer.

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